I never give a specific answer. I only ask questions.
How much do you want to spend?
Do you realize how big and bulky a DSLR is compared to a point and shoot?
What do you want to photograph with this new camera?
Budget is a big topic when it comes to purchasing your DSLR. You need to consider the actual camera body, a lens or two, flash, compact flash or SD cards, a bag to carry it all, tripod, and extra storage on your home computer or external drive. Another thing to consider is depreciation. Cameras these days are like cars or computers, they will not hold their value. As soon as you drive if off the lot, it’s worth less. Professional DSLR’s can reach $7000 and entry level cameras start at $500. A dslr camera that I purchased for $4600 in 2009 is now worth about $1400 in 2013.
If you’re looking to make most of your pictures outside, in bright daylight, then a camera kit is probably a good option. Kits come with “slow” lenses, with a maximum aperture of 4.5 or 5.6. If you’d like to make some pictures inside a darker room, for example a recital or sports game, you need a faster aperture, such as 2.8, 2 or 1.8. A great lens is a 50mm 1.8. It’s fast and affordable.
There are many great entry level DSLR cameras out there to fit any budget. I tell friends to visit their favorite big box retail store to experience different cameras. Some may feel great in your hands, but the buttons don’t make any sense. Or vice versa. It’s a personal preference. I can tell you that the new dslr cameras these days are so good, that an amateur photographer won’t notice the small nuances in megapixels, speed or image quality.
Once you’ve been in the big box stores and have decided on a camera, double check with the online retailers. One of my favorites is http://www.samys.com in Los Angeles. I also like http://www.bhphotovideo.com. Sometimes a store like Walmart, Target or Costco will have the best deal.
Find photographer Cy Cyr on twitter or Instagram @sportsphotographer